Originally produced for the Producers Guild Weekend Shorts Contest, writer/director Colin Campbell’s Dollface (2011) makes for an interesting short film despite its simplicity. One of the great things about short films are that many times the more simple story can be more effective to the audience and at a mere 8 minutes this film does a good job. The film follows a couple Emily and Nick (Jen Dede and Nick Holmes, respectfully) who are spending their Halloween Night playing chess and greeting the trick ‘r treaters but on this night an unusual girl made up to look like a doll’s blank face (played by Shelley Wenk) shows up on their doorstep. The seemingly mute girl disappears quickly but leaves behind a purse prompting Nick to return it to the owner since the items inside tell him that she lives a few blocks down the street. When Emily goes to search for Nick, who has been gone for over four hours, she encounters Karen (Roma Maffia) at the address. Emily soon discovers that Karen is hiding something and when she hears Nick’s screams she goes to search for him discovering all manner of other atrocities that will make this a Halloween Night one she will never forget.
The faults of the film are many in terms of story as it is very predictable and makes little sense once the true nature of Karen and the doll faced girl is revealed but this is only a surface observation as Campbell and company have crafted a visually stunning short film with amazing cinematography from Fortunato Procopio and a great musical score from Jim Lang. Despite the fact that you know what will happen next the film is very effective at creating mood and suspense and keeping you on the edge of your seat. The production design and location are beautifully realized and effective for the style of story being told.
This is a creepy and effective little shocker that despite you wanting the story to actually make sense is actually pretty good in channeling that Dario Argento giallo vibe from Tenebre (1982) or Deep Red (1975). This film may not win any awards for story (and nor did any of Argento’s films) but it is one of those short films that has enough great elements in it that gives it a “pass.” Plus it does have Maffia in it that was extremely effective in the FX show Nip/Tuck (2003-2010) and does a good job in this film as well. Campbell will be a filmmaker to look out for if he can translate his style from this film to feature length.
To view the film you can visit You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_672459&feature=iv&src_vid=xQq5Qa1f80g&v=BpFW3Xl6eFA